Tag: called

I just saw that animal idk what it’s called and realised that what I do when I see a pretty thing : actuallesbians

I just saw that animal idk what it's called and

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Maggie reviews A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine – The Lesbrary

Susan reviews The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Amazon Affiliate Link)

I picked up A Memory Called Empire as part of my ongoing fling with space opera as a great antidote to quarantine. There’s something about complicated plots, action, and space, that is really great for pulling me out of my apartment and into a nice brain space right now. This was a lovely book, full of meticulous, engaging world-building, fascinating plot developments, and a really interesting look at identity. If you are at all looking for some space opera right now, add it to your list.

Mahit is the new ambassador from Lsel Station on her way to the Teixcalaanli Empire to replace a long-term ambassador who has been killed. But she is facing more problems than just figuring out a cause of death. Tiny, self-contained Lsel Station has survived by making sure skills and experience survive and are passed down via neurological devices called imago machines. Once successfully integrated with a compatible successor, the imago machines mean that the full years and experience of previous imago owners of that line are passed down and integrated into the host’s own personality. But the previous ambassador Yskander has, somewhat suspiciously, been avoiding coming back to the Station to update his imago file, and so the imago that Mahit has been fitted with is almost 15 years out of date. It then goes on the fritz almost immediately after she steps foot in the Empire. Which leaves Mahit woefully unprepared for the situation she is stepping into, Lsel Station diplomatic training relying largely on imago memory. And so, almost blind and with only the help of her liaison Three Seagrass, Mahit has to navigate a new culture, the politics around an uncertain line of succession, the Empire’s interest in imago machines, and the feeling that something even more dangerous than the upheaval happening in the City is coming.

What I really loved about this book was the slow, inexorable build of pressure. As Mahit slowly figures out what is going on, so does the reader. Mahit feels extremely disconnected from events and from her position, because of the malfunction of her imago machine. Its absence strips her of whatever pre-knowledge she might have been able to access about the political situation on Teixcalaanli, and her disconnect is the reader’s disconnect. It was delightful, peeling back all the plot layers. Who killed Yskander becomes what was Yskander up to before he died. The heating up of the Emperor’s successor becomes intimately involved with her own small station becomes a looming threat greater the politics of one city. And through it all is a delightful exploration of what constitutes a person’s self and how the imago machines affect them.

Also delightful is that this kind of sweeping political space opera turned out to be queer. Mahit’s continual struggles with identity and who she is with and without her imago machine already have a strong queer element in them, but her snarky, flirty relationship with her liaison Three Seagrass is refreshing. When it becomes more than just off the cuff flirting, I gasped in delight. This isn’t a queer romance for the ages or anything, but it adds another great layer to this wonderfully layered book. And if you’re looking for space opera in general, knowing one is queer is a great reason to steer towards it.

In conclusion, I started this book looking for some standard space opera and was inexorably drawn into amazing worldbuilding, an intricate plot that kept me guessing, and a queer relationship that I did not expect but embraced whole-heartedly.

Fearing the end of marriage equality, one couple rushes to the altar before an historic election is called

Fearing the end of marriage equality, one couple rushes to

Following the appointment of conservative Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Jason Melcher and Johnnie Wonders worried that their right to marry as a gay couple could be revoked. An historic election day that could further impact their fate was just around the corner, so the pair rushed to the altar, planning their special event in just under two days.

The couple lives in the swing state of Pennsylvania in an area that Jason refers to as Trump territory. Multiple neighbors flaunt yard signs that promote the incumbent, and even larger, more prominent displays can be seen a few miles down the road. Johnnie says, “I wish they could realize how their unwavering faith in this president affects us,” adding that Trump’s bigotry and problematic perspectives impact the lives and mental health of marginalized people in ways that his supporters don’t seem to understand.

Johnnie says, “We might do things they wouldn’t do with their own lives, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not like them when it comes to our relationships and how we love one another.” Jason explains that one reason to get married so quickly was to guarantee protections the couple could otherwise be denied. He cites the importance of hospital visitation, sharing health insurance, the right to make decisions for each other in an emergency, and other rights that could be important during a pandemic.

He adds, “It’s literally just a piece of paper but it means so much more in the political sense. It’s a giant middle finger to the current president and Amy Coney Barrett or anyone else who isn’t sure we should be married.”

photo by Lorena Melcher
It was difficult to find time for the ceremony because both men are working two jobs, but they ultimately invited guests to a late-night affair in the early hours of Halloween. The wedding day was also a work day for Jason, who went straight from his full-time job at a local, queer-centered nonprofit to an evening shift at McDonald’s. Jason didn’t return home until after midnight, leaving just enough time to shower and change clothes before walking down the stairs of the couple’s home with his groom at 1 a.m.

The pair was joined in person by Jason’s parents and twin as well as two of their close friends in addition to Jason’s older brother who connected via live-stream. They gathered in front of their fireplace mantle which Johnnie decorated with sparkling lights and festive garlands hours before the event. A Progress Pride flag hung on a nearby wall in the living room as they exchanged vows in matching Renaissance garb.

Both men wore black harem pants and matching boots paired with similarly styled vests that had pointed shoulders and chain details. A gold collar, lapel and cuffs accented Jason’s burgundy, leather vest, which he paired with a black, long-sleeved v-neck. Wonders donned similar attire, but his vest was black with purple embellishments, and he carried a decorative knife. Guests dressed in the theme with outfits they’d typically sport at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

Their original wedding date was scheduled for a Renaissance Faire weekend, an event both men feel deeply connected to after growing up visiting the destination and eventually developing a strong community there. Jason isn’t too disappointed that his original wedding plans didn’t come to fruition because the pair hopes to renew their vows in a ceremony that will match his dreams. The new date of October 31 is significant for Johnnie who is Wiccan, and the couple incorporated a Pagan handfasting ritual into the ceremony. The couple didn’t exchange rings, but they tied a braided embroidery thread into a knot around their shared clasp to signify their union. 

At 6-foot-6, Jason was the tallest person present—standing just inches below the ceiling and 14 inches higher than Johnnie who is only 5-foot-4. “Every aspect of our relationship is opposites attract,” Jason says as he begins to list their differences. He describes himself as a lap dog who needs a lot of cuddling and Johnnie as someone who prefers more space. He notes that they approach finances and the perceptions of the world from a different lens because of the ways they grew up. Johnnie, 43, was raised by his grandfather in rural Pennsylvania, going to high school across the parking lot from a cow field, and developing his sense of self in a space where being gay isn’t always affirmed. In contrast, Jason, 26, grew up in suburbs that border Philadelphia, immersed in a younger generation of queer people and is around those who embody more diverse aspects of identity, such as nonbinary and agender descriptors.

Johnnie is a homebody whereas Jason likes to go out—but Jason notes, “He gives me a valid reason to stay home and relax—to spend time with him rather than go, go, go. I do the opposite for him, so we offer balance to each other—where he reminds me to rest and I remind him to live a little more.” Johnnie underlines that each of their differences is a positive attribute in their relationship that helps them grow and feel grounded together.

The pair met four years ago at a leather and fetish event and proudly embraces a dominant-submissive dynamic, but most people make the wrong assumptions about who’s who. Johnnie explains, “Everyone thinks Jason is the more dominant one because he’s so much bigger, but we defy stereotypes.” Johnnie says that he’s learned there just isn’t a specific concept for norms regarding relationships anymore. He underlined, “And in that way, our relationship is no different than anyone else’s.”

Johnnie mailed his ballot the day of their wedding and both men are trying to practice self-care, enjoy virtual time with friends, and pour themselves into work while awaiting results—which experts say might take until Friday to finalize in Pennsylvania. When explaining how he hopes those in leadership will view queer and marginalized people over the next four years, Johnnie says, “I want the world to realize that there’s only one thing that should matter. It’s just love. Plain and simple. Just love.”

Photo credit: Lorena Melcher


I think ive been called out : actuallesbians

I think ive been called out : actuallesbians

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!